Northport VPK-8 School students from across the campus came together as a community to participate in the Annual Young Author’s program. Students, teachers and parents collaborated to bring the magic and joy of writing to Northport students. Students worked to think up great ideas from a variety of genre’s, write the story, edit, rewrite, illustrate, match the words to the pictures, develop plot, characters and setting and to bring conflict into the story line. Students wrote at their level across the VPK-8 school and then proudly displayed their books as a class or grade in the media center. The Northport Media Center was decorated with the theme, “Journey Through Books!” Each class used a favorite book as a backdrop to highlight their own books. For example, Jill Staggs and her fourth graders used the book “A Land Remembered” by Patrick Smith to entice other students who toured the library to read that book. Susan Smith’s seventh and eighth grade students used the Harry Potter series as their decorative backdrop to showcase their books. The tables were filled with artifacts about a highlighted book. The Northport Young Author program is first rate because it is an adventure in writing that all students, no matter their writing level, can participate in and find common ground and common language with every other student on the campus. It is so refreshing to have parents, grandparents and students come in and tour the media center to view the student writing workmanship. Many young students asked if they could “check out” other students books. Seven students were selected from across the campus to represent Northport at the District Young Author’s held recently at Oak Hammock K-8 School. Those selected students put their heart and soul into writing magical books. Northport representatives are:
Victoria Gallway from Miss Schrader’s grade 2
Sawyer Griffin from Mrs. Smith’s grade 8
Ranjiv Sundersingh from Miss Roe’s grade 3
Emeli Morales from Mrs. Day’s grade 3
Sharon Manzano from Mrs. Smith’s grade 8
Joseph Mathis from Mrs. Fowler’s grade 5
Zakai Mack from Mr. Carey’s grade 8
Pictured are Big Brother, Big Sister mentor, Mary Saul and her Little, Northport 4th grader, Walky Julien.
Each school year, Northport is pleased and proud to present to our students many different educational experiences about the tragedy of September 11, 2001. This year has been no different. Students in Melanie Polascak’s fifth grade class learned about the Survivor’s Tree which withstood the fall of the Twin Towers. Students made their own quilt to display in the school hallway to remember the Survivor’s Tree. Students also signed a “Northport American Children’s Pledge” to be great citizens of the United States of America. Those pledges line the hallways of Northport. The “Northport American Children’s Pledge” was recited over the intercom on 9/11 following the Pledge of Allegiance.
On 9/11/15, Northport Media Center hosted a moving and auspicious program that included thoughts from retired longtime instructor, Mary Toto, who was teaching at Northport on 9/11; Maryanne Warren, Student Assistance counselor; and retired New Your City police detective, Albert Hickey. Detective Hickey was a First Responder at Ground Zero on 9/11. He is an excellent primary source for our students as he told his story and students then directed questions in “Leadership Summit” format. Detective Hickey answered deep and often times sad questions realizing that much of the instruction of the day was new material.
Also present was a large contingency of “Northport Veteran Partners In Education.” The program was dedicated not only to the 3,000 souls who lost their lives on 9/11, but to the eight children who perished that day. The Northport media center has since been dedicated and renamed “Northport 9/11 Children’s Memorial Library” to honor the lives of those children, but to also remind our students that learning about 9/11 must continue and that each must be a good citizen of the most wonderful and free country in the world.
The program ended at the flag pole in front of the school where teachers and veterans, Nick Carey and Christine Nurse raised, then lowered the American flag to half staff. Flags were posted for each of the eight children who perished and the National Anthem and several other songs were sung to commemorate the day.
Northport VPK-8 School on Floresta Drive in Port Saint Lucie welcomed back well over one thousand students on Monday, August 17. The morning was the culmination of a solid week of planning and preparation on the part of the administration, teachers and staff. The students and parents were heralded with the smiling, welcoming faces of so many in the community who wanted to wish the students and families a great start to a fabulous school year.
On hand to ring in the 2015-2016 year was new Superintendent of SLPS E. Wayne Gent, SLPS Chief Communications Officer Kerry Padrick, twenty members of the Northport VPK-8 School Veteran Partners in Education Program, representatives from the Port Saint Lucie Police and Fire Departments, District personnel and many, many other community members. Northport VPK-8 School is a vibrant, dynamic, community oriented school that has cultivated deep connections with families, local veterans groups, PSLPD and Port Saint Lucie Fire community. We realize that we are not a closed building, but an open and sharing member of the community. We can’t educate and empower our students alone. We welcome volunteers, business partners, veterans, rescue animal activists and many others community connections that make our school shining and special.
Northport offers a full service K-8 Gifted and Enriched program, a beautiful STEaM Center, a dynamic Choral and Instrumental Department as well as Art enrichment. We are a school on the move, continually progressing forward with new initiatives and building and keeping dreams for teachers and students alive.
Pictured entering the “Tunnel of Hope” into Northport are family members in back, Jennifer Hitsman and Dina McHugh and children, from left Nathaniel Andrades, Dominic Andrades, Maliaya Dongen and Jenilyn Keys. Special thanks to all parents and grandparents who offered words of support and thanksgiving for a wonderful school year.
Northport VPK-8 School Media Specialist, Lynne Gruszka and eighth grade student, Trey Bingham proudly accept the donation of three books documenting the legacies of a lengthy list of Medal of Honor recipients in our American History. The bestowing of the books, “Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty” coincides with the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Medal of Honor by an act of Congress, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln back in 1861 during the Civil War. The milestone celebrates the heroism and sacrifice of all those who have fought and died to defend the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. The books are filled with photos of each recipient and a story of their heroic legacy reduced to reader friendly length. The books were donated by Medal of Honor recipient, Kenneth Stumpf whose story is portrayed within the pages of the book pertaining to the recipients from the Vietnam War. The books were attained for Northport students via USAF Sgt. Roy Brewer, one of the Northport Veteran Partners in Education. Students will learn that there are 79 living Medal of Honor recipients and over three thousand medals have been distributed by presidents. The administration, students, teachers and parents are tremendously pleased to accept these books on behalf of all American heroes who are the ultimate role models for our students. These many men and one woman are real American heroes who laid their lives on the line for the good of their brothers and sisters in arms and the good of all American people. Northport instructor and 1st Infantry Army Division veteran, Nick Carey said, ” I met Staff Sgt. Walter Ellers, a MOH recipient while stationed in Germany and heard his very powerful story first hand. I have the utmost respect for all MOH recipients. Having these books available will help open our students eyes to who the true American heroes really are!” President George Bush said, ” The Medal of Honor epitomizes the very best of what America stands for and these recipients represent the very heart and soul of America.” We, at Northport VPK-8 School agree!
Northport K-8 School Senior Volunteer of the Year and district representative for Senior Volunteers Bill Arnold was one of the shining stars of the recognition event planned by district volunteer coordinator Susan Helms-Smith. Mr. Arnold’s work at Northport K-8 was highlighted and backdropped by a wonderful series of video clips of the work he has accomplished with the Northport Veteran Partners in Education program held at the school. Mr. Arnold and all the veterans were celebrated with a standing ovation. Also honored was Rosemary Lambert, Northport
K-8 Adult Volunteer of the Year. Pictured, freom left, are Northport K-8 principal Glenn Rustay, Bill Arnold, Media Specialist and Volunteers Coordinator Lynne Gruszka, Rosemary Lambert and many representatives of Northport’s Veterans In Education and their wives.
Northport K-8 Principal Glenn Rustay and Media Specialist and volunteer coordinator Lynne Gruszka, and the entire school community are proud to honor Senior Volunteer of the Year Kay Egan and Adult Volunteer of the Year Suzi Scott. The two women were honored at a reception at the St. Lucie County School Board recently along with many other volunteers who work diligently to support students, teachers and schools’ staff. Mrs. Egan and Mrs. Scott assist teachers in any way possible, including cooking, mentoring students, running copies, purchasing supplies and goodies as well as assisting the PTO and the school administration. Special thanks and accolades to all Northport K-8 School
volunteers. Pictured, from left, are Kay Egan, Lynne Gruszka, Suzi Scott and Glenn Rustay.
Northport K-8 Volunteer of the Year Suzi Scott, pictured, received a very special
congratulations for all her efforts and hard work on behalf of the teachers and
students of Northport K8 School recently. The letter, from Florida State
Senator Joe Negron, congratulated Mrs. Scott for being a “vital thread in the
fabric of our community!” Negron thanked Mrs. Scott for her dedication and
commitment to the students and teachers and he expressed a shared pride with her
family, friends and everyone at Northport. Mrs. Scott is diligent in her work
on behalf of all children at the school and she is highly appreciated by all
whose life she touches.
Northport K-8 School Veteran Partner in Education Bill Arnold returns frequently to campus to bring information, news and gifts of American flags, pins and other articles to bring smiles to students of all ages. Mr. Arnold recently returned shortly after a classroom visit to third grade teachers Megan Castiglia and Susan Poveromo’s classes for a Veteran’s Day Commemoration. His gifts were framed photographs of each student sporting his own military jacket and beret from the Vietnam War era. Students were so thrilled to receive the photographs that they could take home as mementoes of his many visits to the classes. Northport K-8 School welcomes veterans on an ongoing basis, and they have become part of the persona that makes Northport K-8 School a welcoming, community based school that appreciates and promotes American History and patriotism. Pictured are instructor Susan Poveromo, left, Mr. Arnold and students, from left, Fabiana Cabrera, Ashley Revange and Jay Briggs.
Northport welcomed twelve local veterans into the school media center recently to honor Veterans Day and to teach students about words with very important meanings like service, sacrifice, integrity, grit, and commitment. The group of veterans are an integral part of the fabric of Northport and they bring their very important message to the children of the school regularly. Students in Jennifer Lusardi’s and Kristin Schrader’s second grade classes, Michelle Kemp’s third grade class, and middle grades students from the seventh and eighth grade Stingray and Dolphins team were engaged and asked important questions. Students at Northport are blanketed in lessons about respect, patriotism, and service at an early age. Administrators, teachers, media services personnel, and support staff work diligently to scaffold lessons learned at home about the sacrifices that our veterans make and the love and respect that is offered to those who have served us so selflessly.
Many thanks to our Northport Veteran Partners in Education for once again offering students great lessons on democracy, civics, and community engagement. Students were quick to lavish thanks and shook hands with our veterans as the program wrapped up and each understood the gravity of the day’s lessons.
Northport K-8 School administrators and teachers are over the moon with the news that the school has been “adopted” by the local Walmart Distribution Center. On a recent morning, teachers were called to the Media Center for a surprise visit from several representatives from the Distribution Center. The group expressed to teachers that several of the staff who work at the center have children who attend Northport and that they would like to partner with the school to enhance community relations and to extend a helping hand to give teachers added support. The Walmart representatives distributed twenty $50 gift cards and jars of candy to randomly selected teachers. Talk about thrilling and thankful! Walmart has set a precedent with their gift and to the teachers, a priceless gift! Thank you so much to Walmart Distribution Center from the Northport Community. Pictured are the Walmart Distribution Center representatives, the teachers who received the gift cards and Northport Principal, Glenn Rustay.
Northport was so proud and thrilled to host the Speakers Bureau with Dr. Donna Mills recently. The Speakers Bureau is now in seven SLC schools and the guests who are invited to speak and interact with students are meant to help inspire, motivate, encourage and teach students how to make good choices. Each guest selected by Dr. Mills is a person who is willing to stand up for what is right and one who is a model for inspiration.
At Northport recently, students were engaged and inspired by several guests. Along with Dr. Mills and Dr. Kenneth Mills, guests included recent Fort Pierce Central graduate Antravious Soleyn. Antravious performed Spoken Word for the eighth grade students and told students about his plan to go to IRSC, become a teacher, and return to SLPS under the A Promise is a Promise program to teach and return his life lessons to the youth of our community. Big thumbs up to Antravious Soleyn for being a great role model for Northport students.
The keynote speaker in Northport’s Media Center was SLPS Superintendent E. Wayne Gent. Mr. Gent’s invaluable discussion and interaction with the students was greatly appreciated. Right off the bat, he gave the students an assignment. The assignment was to tell a teacher how much he or she is appreciated. Students listened intently as Mr. Gent spoke about his life story and their ears perked up when he told students that his role model in school was his eighth grade history teacher. Students at Northport could relate to this because an in-depth look at American History and lessons on patriotism are embedded in the culture and fabric of Northport. Mr. Gent spoke about setting goals, staying focused, being strategic, never giving up, and making good choices. He offered students a challenge: “Define Yourselves!” He said, “Nobody can take away your value!” Mr. Gent told students that the highlight of his life is to shake students’ hands at graduation. The Superintendent’s message and delivery were authentic and he skillfully wove the pattern of his life and gave students the beginnings of a map to build their own lives.
Northport has had the golden opportunity to work with the Mills and with others who inspire, offer challenges, and encourage students to rise to every occasion. Our students and teachers are blessed to be part of the Speakers Bureau. Many thanks from Principal Glenn Rustay and from the Northport community of learners.
Northport K-8 School third graders received a special visit from Sunset Rotary club member Joe the Biker recently. Joe Wojcik, known as Joe the Biker, gave a dynamic introduction in the use of the dictionary integrating words and information from a bullying presentation that has made his name synonomous with
an anti bullying message. Joe the Biker demonstrated how to look up words and information in the dictionary and also donated a class set of a books written by Joe the Biker called “Call Me Yubby!” The students were thrilled with the presentation and many thanks go to the Sunset Rotary Club.
Northport 3rd graders recently enjoyed the IRSC Hallstrom Planetarium. This was a wonderful learning experience for a group of really awesome students, teachers and parent chaperones. ❤ 🌟 🌟 🌟
Students in Northport K-8 Janine Ferro Weicks’ third grade RTI class accepted their teacher’s challenge and guidance and produced top of the line PowerPoint presentations recently. Students declared the main concept and provided plenty of rich supporting details when building their presentations. Students worked cooperatively, with Mrs. Weicks serving as coach and mentor through the process of completing slides. Students presented information about some of their favorite topics such as wrestling, soccer, music and the author, Rick Riordan. Students also presented information about themselves, including their likes, dislikes, favorite teachers and favorite types of music. Students presented their slide shows using correct volume, good pacing and were equal contributors in the group discussions. Parents, grandparents, administration and teachers were extremely impressed with the informational and clearly well organized presentations. Pictured are Mrs. Ferro Weicks, principal, Glenn Rustay,
assistant principal, Doug Shook and plenty of parents and grandparents.
There was the most wonderful visit to the Northport Media Center with Mrs. Kemp and Ms. Lusardi’s 3rd graders recently. The students buddy read holiday books from the huge basket of book collections in the Northport Media Center, read holiday and Christmas stories by themselves and then listened to “Twas the Night Before Christmas” read by Mrs. Gruszka, Northport Media Specialist. and teachers sang “Jingle Bells,” “Silver Bells,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Then the students sang “Hot, Hot Chocolate,” a song that they sang together at the Holiday Christmas Concert held at Northport as a gift to Mrs. Gruszka! The children and their smiling faces were the best gift! They were so happy! The Christmas trees and lights were ablaze, the stuffed Christmas and holiday teddy bears were hugged, and the fireplace was glowing. Beautiful season at Northport!
Northport K-8 third grade teacher Melanie Polascak organized a Space Walk for her third grade team as a culminating activity on a space/solar system unit of study. Students and teachers used flags to mark the sun and then made a live scale model of the solar system. Each step between flags represented 30 million miles in the real solar system. Students marked 36 million miles as the first step in the solar system. Students took six steps to Mercury from the sun. Students and teachers then counted footsteps using the scale model to reach all planets. The final planet, Neptune, is 3.7 billion miles from the sun. Students were able to learn knowledge from the scale model and were able to connect this knowledge to their unit of study and their trip to the planetarium. The live scale model presented vital information in a new and intriguing lesson format for third graders.
Northport K-8 School third grade students in Melanie Polascak’s and Glenda
Taylor’s classes have been working on a combined unit of study to determine
learning data and to evaluate the effectiveness of class rotations on the study
of Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Students and instructors used a variety of
resources to bring the unit of study full circle. Culminating activities to
bring resolution to the unit occured recently in the teachers’ classrooms such as
making pinatas from Mexico, making moose antlers from Canada and learning to
play dominos and how to do the limbo from the Caribbean. Students also enjoyed
a variety of food and drink samples from each country. Pictured are third grade
students from both classes enjoying the lesson!
Northport K-8 third graders in Linda Beidler, John Fallon, Janine Wiecks, Diana Lankow, Melanie Polascak, Glenda Taylor and Tiffany Tredor’s classes took the stress out of their first FCAT test by taking whacks at a homeade pinata on Friday in the school’s courtyard. As each student took a whack and showed who was boss, they were urged to shout out a learned test taking strategy. Stategies called out were read the entire passage before attempting to answer, consider key words, underline the key words, cross out distractors, read the questions first, answer from the last question to the first, substitute words for vocabulary questions and the biggest strategy was “think before you answer!” Students have worked on basic test taking strategies all year but were given an intense course in strategies by literacy coach, Deb
Mock using a program called Get Smart. Pictured is third grader Christopher Cabrera from Janine Weicks class taking a swing at the pinata.
Northport third graders in Melanie Polascak’s class contructed a quilt for hope to learn about the history of September 11, 2001. Ms. Polascak used a PowerPoint slide show to tell the students all about the Survivor Tree at Ground Zero, the story of one small pear tree that survived the devastion of that day. The instructor encouraged the students to have hope for the future and like the pear tree, America will survive tough times. The third graders were extremely proud of their quilt, and Ms. Polascak’s lesson allowed students to digest elaborate
information in a concrete yet simple manner!
Northport VPK-8 School third grade students in Susan Poveromo’s class learned all about the life of Helen Keller recently in a heartfelt lesson in commemoration of Disability Awareness Month. Students read all about Helen Keller who lived her life in virtual darkness. They learned that Helen was born in 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama and that Helen was born a bright and lively baby but at nineteen months old contracted scarlet fever which left her blind, deaf, and unable to speak. Students learned about the special touch of Helen’s teacher, Annie Sullivan, and they also learned that “kindness is the language that the blind can see and the deaf can hear.” Student discussions included talks about personal strengths, limitations, and ways of communication. Students viewed clips from the movie version of The Life of Helen Keller and related what they read to what they visualized. The third graders learned introductory sign language and wrote five W’s summaries about lessons learned from the story of Helen Keller. Students were thrilled with the first-rate lesson and were so excited to discuss their newly discovered appreciation for people with disabilities. Great job, Mrs. Poveromo!